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When university isn’t right for you

Everyone should go to university right?

Well, maybe not if you didn’t like or do well in that style of learning. Maybe not if you have anxieties thinking about large class sizes or writing exams. Maybe not if you can’t afford the time or the money. Maybe not if you need flexibility to manage all the other things going on in your life. Maybe not if you’re entering into a field that you can’t learn without doing at the same time. Maybe not if you need the job and money now.

So…the answer is no. University is not for everyone. What other options are there?

Luckily there are many things to do and ways to train these days. Since this blog belongs to a tech school, I’ll tailor these responses to the tech industry but there’s plenty of room to extrapolate to other professions as well.

1. Teach yourself – There are tons of great online resources so start there. Start with a google/YouTube search and google reviews. See what others have done. This is by far the cheapest and most convenient method way to learn. Although people likely don’t want their surgeons to learn this way, there are a lot of great software developers that are self-taught.

2. Microcredentialling – These days, there are a lot of bootcamps and programs (like Renzoku!) that are much shorter, more practical and immersive than traditional education. Getting really good at 1-2 things is often much better than being mediocre at many things.

3. Trades/apprenticeship style learning – My bias will come through in this example but there really aren’t many things that are best taught through 4 years in a classroom followed by practical experience afterwards. The best way to learn is always through watching, helping, trying, cooperating, and mentoring.

4. Build a business – It’s easier to do this than ever before. There are many online marketplaces and free resources online that can help through all the stages of starting and upkeeping a business. Succeed or fail – you’ll probably get the best education that money can buy. Tip: start small and test the idea first. Businesses rarely get it all right from scratch.

Most important: keep track of everything you’ve done. No one will ask you what grade you received in a second-year computer science course, but they might want to see the project you created for the course. Find a repository for everything (ie. GitHub) and put all your work there – even if you don’t know if it will apply to what you’re doing.

Good luck! Happy learning!

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